Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bravo's big day...

Bravo was full of beans today, and needed some exercise and entertainment.  We took him with us to take our trash to the transfer station, and to the feed store.  Then we went to the fair grounds and walked the track... 1/2 mile.

He did lots of sniffing of all the new smells.  We did a little training. This pictures shows his response when I said, "Bravo, COME!"

He is becoming more handsome as he grows... moving from adorable puppy to lovely young adult.  And he is so sweet, and so good.

After our walk we stopped by our favorite swimming hole.

In that last shot he must have seen the Loch Ness Monster or something.  After a nice swim, we stopped by a favorite ice cream place. I had a scoop of coconut almond, Chris had Java Crunch.  Bravo had vanilla with two cookies.

I put it down and told him to "wait."  He did.

Then I said, "OK!"

Game on!  He licked and licked and enjoyed every bit of the cool, creamy treat.

Then home and a nap.  Bravo had a big day.

Blooms and chicks...

The gardens are showing off their full summer glory...

And there are MORE chicks hatching!

The Mama Brahma is taking excellent care of her little brood.  She has not taken them out of the coop yet, preferring to have them safe where she can keep a sharp eye on them.

They run about, eating and drinking, scratching in the shavings.  When they get tired they dive under her full petticoats or hop up on her broad back. This is her first family, and I am impressed with her dedication and care.

Soon they will look like the chick below. She is about the size of a grapefruit now, and around 6 weeks old.  They grow so fast, and are great fun to watch as they hunt for bugs and seeds.  My husband calls it watching "hen TV."

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Boots on he deck, smiles all around...

We had delightful overnight visitors.  My niece, along with her husband their amazing 18 month old baby stopped in.

There were tiny boots on the deck, and little clothes and toys here and there.  Best of all there was a  baby to hold and kiss and admire, and a wee voice in the house, "Uh oh!" and "All done!" and "Hi Poodle!"  She liked the dogs, and the dogs liked her. Bravo found it entrancing to have a new face JUST at kissing level, and sweet Flirt was endlessly patient with baby hands exploring her softness. My niece and her husband are unflappable, wonderful parents. It was a quick time, but oh- a babe in the house is a wellspring of pleasure!

We shared a nice supper last night, and breakfast today, and then they were off.

Meanwhile, I am still recovering from the dreaded fall in the spring.  I have not felt like "puttering" in my house, normally one of my favorite pastimes.  When I putter I clean a little here, and rearrange a little there... put out a fresh tablecloth, pick some flowers and arrange them.  I have done none of that since April, and the house was looking a little neglected.  I've been feeling much perkier of late, and did a little of my beloved house activities this week...

I rearranged the nick knacks that go on the shelf here, a minimalist tableau that looks pleasing to me. And see that checker board?  Rachel and I have been playing rather epic checker games.  We leave the board right there, and move a piece now and again as we go about our daily work.  A little stone is moved from side to side to tell us whose turn is next.  She soundly thrashed me the first three games, I beat her the next two.  I suspect my run of luck may be over, she has a determined gleam in her eye.

The hens have been laying up a storm. I stash the eggs in a birch basket on the counter when I first bring them in.  Rachel added the jaunty feather.  That wee, tiny egg on top?  A funny aberration. When you get all your eggs from the store, you think they are always quite uniform.  However, when you have chickens, you realize that occasionally there are some extreme differences in eggs. Huge double (or even triple!) yolkers, wee tiny eggs, eggs with wrinkles in their shells. Sometimes they even come without a real shell at all, just an odd, rubbery membrane.  It all depends on how things are with the hens oviduct on that particular day. In general, the eggs are much the same day in and day out. I find it rather fun when the odd one appears. 

And my little visitor didn't care what the eggs looked like.  We scrambled her up two and she polished them off with gusto. There could be no finer destiny for my good eggs! 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

"Living like tourists..."

Chris likes to say that we try to live like tourists.  Here we are in Maine... arguably one of the most beautiful places in the country. It would be a shame not to explore the place!  Today we drove New Harbor, and took a Seal Watch tour.

The weather was nothing short of stunning.  There was one large family on board the boat, and us, along with the captain and two naturalist/crew members.  Surrounded by salt air and sea, it was a joyful ride to the ledge where seals are known to hang out.

This little guy was on board, and told us all, "I've been waiting to see seals for YEARS!  Since I was in my mommies tummy!"

 As luck would have it, the tide was high and the seals were out hunting.  Not a single seal was there to be seen on the ledge.

But their sleek heads could be seen bobbing in the water...

And this pup came close to the boat...
Living like tourists. It's a good idea, and makes for special days and happy memories.  I like the way my husband thinks.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Wild and free...

We used to have a rabbit which was allowed to roam free.  That wasn't our original intention, of course, because there are many dangers for a small bunny that is not kept safe in a hutch or coop or cage. However,this rabbit was so miserably unhappy when confined we let her live by her own devices.  She would greet me each morning for food and treats, and the rest of the time hung out with the chickens or lounged in the sun or hid in places only she knew about.  She lived a long and happy life and we missed her when she died of old age.

Last winter we added two more pet rabbits to the place, and I thought I might let them have some free time once the weather was fine. But their hutch is so nice and big and roomy, and I worried so much about rabbits being eaten by a fox or a hawk, I kept them in.  A few days ago, when I opened their door to feed them, one hopped out.  He looked so happy in the tall grass, I shrugged and left the door ajar. All day the bunnies hopped around, nibbling on grass and weeds and looked altogether charming.  In the evening I went out with food, water and treats, and it was no trouble at all to round them up and put them safely in their hutch.  So all week that has been our routine.

It is fun to see them racing about, exploring the pasture.

They stay together for the most part, and the black and white one only has three legs so he does not go very far or very fast.  I hope they can stay safe and enjoy some freedom.  Carpe Diem, little ones. Hop wild and free!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Old and new...

We had a fun outing last weekend which involved traveling to Rockport, Massachusetts and visiting with many family members, (including my incredibly fabulous 18 month old great niece, with whom I am hopelessly in love!)  I got home and tried to blog about it, and my computer decided to add random letters where they were not invited.  For instance, I wanted to title my post, "Away we go..." and the computer did this:  "Atwtayt wtet gtot."  Other letters besides "t" would be rudely inserted where they didn't belong as well.  My wonderful computer geek husband was unable to fix it.  A new computer had been on my wish list for Christmas anyway, as mine was elderly by computer standards had some other troubling issues. Throwing caution and Yankee frugality to the wind, I  decided to live large and ordered a lovely brand new laptop. Due to the wonders of modern time, it arrived in less than 48 hours.  

But now there is that awkward time where I am learning how to use different, updated technology, and load the things I wish to keep from my sweet, old computer, onto my spiffy sleek new one.  I am sure we will soon get to know each other and things will be smooth sailing, but for now I am struggling along trying to adapt to marvelous updates.

The computer is not the only new thing here, either.  The first of July one of my Light Brahma laying hens went broody for the first time.  Last night I took a peek under her to see if any other chickens had added their eggs to hers (I marked her eggs so I would know which was which,) and there was a flurry of movement under her feathers.  I left her alone while the remainder of her eggs hatched, and by this afternoon there were 5 or 6 wee chicks tucked warmly under her feathers.

This is what a freshly hatched chick looks like.  After just a little while they fluff up and look like this...
I put special food and water containers near the nest so the babies can eat and drink.  Mama hen is NOT amused by my messing about with her new babies.

She gives me a frightening looking stink-eye.  She does allow my efforts, but woe to anyone  else who dares to reach in- they are rewarded with a vicious peck from that cruel beak.

New chicks and new computers.  Plenty to keep me busy on these fine summer days.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


The spring was marked with many new baby animals at FairWinds, and summer has them growing, growing...

The diminutive Silky hen will not be able to let the Light Brahma chicks huddle under her warm skirts for much longer.  But for now, those little faces are enchanting peeking out from under her fluff.
The broiler chicks are huge. It is hard to believe that just 7 or so weeks ago they were hatchlings. Their diet of grass,clover, bugs, goat milk and pound after pound of food is serving them well.  I think they weigh at least 5 pounds each, maybe more.

To my dismay, the youngest goats have learned to dance on the roof of the rabbit house.  I wonder what the bunnies think when they hear the thunder of hooves above them?  Note Barley on the right, caught in mid-leap by my trusty camera.  Hops and Jane are on the roof.  When we brought Barley and Hops home in early May, they were tiny... under 10 pounds each.  Now they are close to 50 pounds, I think.

And the ducklings!  My goodness, it is getting difficult to tell the babies from the adults these days. I wish I could find homes for more of them.  8 went off to new farms last week, but I still have 10 that I would like to place. Or, maybe 9.  There is one very small duckling that may stay right here.

And then there is the wonderfulness of baby Bravo.  He loves toys, and plays riotous games by himself. He tosses the toys and races after them, catching and tossing again. He is becoming more nimble and agile as he gains muscle.

 A smart and happy puppy, he brings me much joy and laughter as he grows.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Chaos and mayhem...

The final batch of ducklings has hatched.  Eight wee, perfect, downy creatures. Now all three hen ducks have their clutches of healthy, pretty babies. You might think the drake would be proud. You might think the mama's would be pleased. You would be wrong.

The pasture is rife with strife.  Each hen duck wants to molest and torment the other mothers brood.
One duck will race up to the other. The second duck will quack and protest, and her babies will scatter in alarm.  Then the first duck will peck at the frantic ducklings, sometimes even picking one up to toss it about with reckless abandon. The air is filled with the angry voices of the mother ducks, and the upset peeping of the poor ducklings. The drake is terribly confused.  He goes from  hen to hen, unsure of his roll in all of this pandemonium.  I have decided that there will be no future ducklings!  This is not fun in the slightest.

Fortunately, once in a while one of the hens will find a moment of quietude, away from the others.
Then the scene radiates maternal bliss and loveliness.

The babies dabble in the low water containers I put around the place, and eat vast quantities of food.

They grow at an astonishing rate. The first ducklings hatched June 6th, and are more than half grown already. I need to find them new homes, and fast, so that calm can once again reign at FairWinds.